In September, I went through a bit of—I won’t call it a depression—but an extreme low period. I was supposed to be going to Eastern Europe, to Croatia, Hungary, Austria at the end of the month. Now I’m thinking about a trip planned in March, and every day I lose a percentage of the chance I’ll go.
The thing is, there’s nothing that equates to travel. It’s such a lifestyle. It’s so overwhelming now, I try not to think of it. I have volunteer work that I do. I’ve sort of thrown myself into that. I’ve thrown myself into reading, thrown myself into Netflix, like so many others, and I’m throwing myself really into trying to stay healthy.
I did go to Chicago for Labor Day weekend. And it was unlike any Chicago I’ve ever seen before—like there had been some kind of world event that you hadn’t heard about and you’re one of the survivors on the street, just sort of bumbling around. But I loved it more than I ever had. I noticed the grandeur of it, the greatness of it, and the things that I liked about it. Maybe in time I’ll get to taking travel for granted again, but it’s sort of hard to believe now.
St. Louis, Missouri-based Cross worked for the federal government for the bulk of her career. She retired for the second time last August.
I worked for the U.S. government for almost 30 years and I retired and began receiving my pension. Then I got offered a job as a fraud investigator two miles from the house, so I took that. Last year, we paid off our house, and I was thinking, Wow, okay, I’m 56, I’m healthy, we don’t have a mortgage anymore. I can afford to fully retire along with my husband, who had already retired, so I put in my resignation.
Of course we had all these dreams. We weren’t big world travelers—not that we didn’t want to be. When we were working and had kids in expensive schools, we couldn’t afford it. There were several months there, after I retired, where, my goodness, we just had a ball. We took our first big family trip to Italy with our kids and their significant others last October. For my 58th birthday in November, we went to a football game at Pennsylvania State. We went on a kayak trip down one of our beautiful Missouri rivers. In January, we went down to Florida.